It’s your video game industry news update for March 22nd, 2018 – Nintendo schedules a Super Smash Bros. for Switch tournament at E3 2018, GDC 2018 brings about a Nindies Showcase, and Vivendi sells its stake in Ubisoft. The video game industry changes every day and your time is important. Let’s get you caught up, starting right now, on Games in Time!
Nintendo has announced that a Super Smash Bros. invitational tournament that highlights the upcoming Switch release will take place at E3 2018. This is very reminiscent of when Super Smash Bros. for Wii U was given its own pre-release tournament at E3 2014, though we knew much more about that game when its invitational was announced. For what it’s worth, Splatoon 2 will have a similar kind of invitational at this year’s E3, featuring teams from all around the world. The tournaments have only been confirmed to be streamed live on June 11th and 12th – the Monday and Tuesday of E3 2018.
If you ask me, there are a couple big takeaways from this announcement. First, it is odd for Nintendo to talk about E3 this early in the year. Scheduling a tournament like this shows the confidence that Nintendo has in having Smash Bros. actually be a 2018 release – and it would have to be, if the game lines up with the Switch’s paid online launch in September.
The vagueness of exactly when these tournaments take place does raise some questions, though. Traditionally, Nintendo’s E3 presentation takes place at Noon ET on the Tuesday of E3 week, hours before the convention show floor opens. Now, if the Smash tournament is Tuesday night, it would make sense to have an info blowout during the E3 Direct, then follow it up with the tournament. However, if it were Monday night, then that is a more tantalizing premise. Would viewers and participants be going into a tournament without seeing any gameplay or knowing any characters in the build? I’m just throwing it out there, but if the Smash Bros. tournament takes place before Nintendo’s E3 Direct, it could be entirely possible that we’ll have a Smash Direct to convey this basic information in the coming months.
It’s GDC week and Nintendo took the opportunity to discuss Year 2 of their Nindies initiative on Switch with partnered independent games. Some of the already established titles shown in the mini-Direct-like Nindies Showcase include Mark of the Ninja Remastered, Lumines Remastered, and The Banner Saga 3 – which will join the first two games in the series with choices carrying over on Switch. Other titles that are getting some buzz include The Messenger, West of Loathing, Light Fall, and Bomb Chicken. There were also other Switch indie games that were announced outside of the showcase, including Hyper Light Drifter and Nidhogg 2.
Vivendi’s attempted hostile takeover of Ubisoft has ended. The media giant – owner of Universal Media Group and Dailymotion – has agreed to sell their 27.3% stake in Ubisoft to the Guillemot family, totaling $2.45 billion. Ubisoft is reinvesting some of this money in a strategic partnership with Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent, who will help publish Ubisoft games in the burgeoning Asian market. What seemed like an unfortunate certainty at one point now has a pleasant resolution, as we can expect more games under Ubisoft’s direction in the coming future.
- God of War’s preview embargo hit this week and the early impressions are surprisingly strong, with praises to combat gameplay and emotional storytelling. The game has officially gone gold, so keep an eye out for this one on April 20th.
- SEGA hosted a Sonic the Hedgehog panel at SXSW. Sonic Mania Plus was announced as a expansion to last year’s game – adding Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel as playable characters, an Encore Mode, 4-player multiplayer, and more refinements. The full game will launch at $29.99 this summer, with plans for a paid DLC upgrade in the works. Additionally, a tease of what is expected to be a Sonic Racing game was also shown.
- PUBG Mobile is out on iOS and Android in the US, likely to compete with Fornite’s mobile announcement and to bring the Chinese mobile game stateside.
- Eurogamer is reporting that a recent Amazon Italy listing for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered is real, but it doesn’t include multiplayer, which could explain its lower-than-usual price.
- HTC Vive Pro can now be preordered for $799 and shipping starts on April 5th. This only includes the upgraded head-mounted display, however, and not the required base stations, controllers, or the new wireless transmitter. As a result, the price of the original Vive has dropped to $499.
- Just as a side-note – keep your eye on Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, as its visuals look distinctively better on Switch, compared to Wii U.
- While you’re at it, check out Ninja’s recent interview with CNBC for a great example of a quality interview given by someone at the height of popularity in the game industry.
- And finally, here are your recent notable game releases:
- Sea of Thieves is out now on Xbox One and PC
- Attack on Titan 2 is out now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch
- Assassin’s Creed Rogue Remastered is out now on PS4 and Xbox One
- Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom comes to PlayStation 4 on Friday, March 23rd
- A Way Out comes to PS4, Xbox One and PC on Friday, March 23rd
- Detective Pikachu comes to Nintendo 3DS on Friday, March 23rd
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